Paragon Processing Provides Crop-Saving Services for Hemp FarmersParagon Processing continues to innovate solutions to help hemp farmers across the nation from losing valuable biomass.
Several weeks ago, Cannabis Tech had the opportunity to tour Paragon Processing’s massive facility in southern Colorado. Designed to help farmers post-harvest, the massive, 256,000 square foot facility can accommodate 20 million pounds of hemp biomass in a climate-controlled environment that helps protect the product from molds, mildews, and other contamination factors.
In this episode of A Tech Moment, we get a few minutes with Billy Chavis, Partner and Lead Process Engineer at Paragon, to talk about their facility and their extended biomass drying capabilities, which could help farmers save thousands of acres of valuable hemp crops all over the nation.
Proper Handling is Critical Throughout the Process
Chavis quickly reminded us that quality hemp processing starts at in-take. “Our quarantine process is second to none,” he stated. “Every super sack or bale brought into the building is tested in three different areas, then we weigh them, mark them, and bar code them for tracking,” he continued.
Paragon keeps all incoming biomass in quarantine containers for 24 hours while they wait for lab test results to confirm the product is safe. Each time a new batch arrives, the containers are sterilized, and the HEPA-filters are exchanged. “Just in case we’re dealing with any pesticides, heavy metals, or microbials that could be airborne, so we don’t contaminate anyone else’s biomass,” Chavis explained. “There’s no layover or crossover.”
“After we’ve determined that the material is, in fact, safe to bring into the general environment, then we offer a number of processes,” said Chavis. However, Paragon Processing doesn’t require farmers to contract with them for final processing. “We might not be everyone’s first choice for biomass extraction or production, but we will still store it until they find the right processor for their own good,” Chavis said.
Beyond Storage, Expanded Drying Capability
In addition to storage, Paragon Processing is ramping up its hemp processing capabilities to meet the demands of a growing industry. Using an industrial-scale dehydration unit once used for making dog treats and pet jerky, their facility can dry between 4,000-6,000 pounds of wet biomass per hour to date. However, Chavis announced that they are expecting new dryers any day which will increase their drying capacity to more than 14,000 pounds of hemp biomass per hour.
“[Our services] help farmers that are cutting in very humid environments such as northern California, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, where they would normally have to store material in a humid environment… we dry it for them, put it in climate-controlled storage until we can process it or send it wherever they’d to have it processed,” Chavis elaborated.
Using an adjustable-speed conveyor belt system, the dehydration equipment includes recirculating fans and supplemental heating, as well as exhaust fans to pull the moisture out. Never reaching temperatures above 120 degrees, Chavis said the overall goal is to reach a moisture content of 10 percent or less.
“Typically, we would see moisture coming in between 40-60 percent. We want to reduce that to 10 percent or less,” he mentioned.
Nationwide Services for Hemp Farmers
Chavis emphasized that Paragon is more than willing to work with hemp producers from anywhere in the nation, but warned, wet hemp has a high risk for degradation and microbials. “If the hemp is wet, we would suggest getting a reefer truck, something to keep [the biomass] at colder temperatures,” he advised.
Getting started with Paragon Processing for hemp storage or hemp processing is as easy as contacting their offices to begin the conversation. Whether cultivators just need a place to store their crops until they find the right processor, or if they want to contract through to the final product, Paragon can work with them each step of the way.
As the nation's largest post-harvest, hemp processing facility, Chavis says the company wants to stay on the cutting edge of technologies and is continually working on developing new technology to make storage and extraction processes more efficient. With newly developed, proprietary extraction technology, Chavis expects Paragon Processing to increase their crude production between 7,000 to 10,000 pounds per hour in the near future.
“We hope to continue to stay on the innovative and cutting-edge side of the industry,” Chavis conveyed.
About Paragon Processing
Paragon Processing is a Colorado-based company that specializes in providing turnkey services and total solutions for hemp farmers and business owners, alike. On its 38-acre property, Paragon Processing houses a 250,000-square-foot facility ― the largest currently in operation in the U.S. Paragon Processing offers a full range of services related to processing, sales, THC remediation, onsite third-party lab testing, storage, and post-harvest farm support. Utilizing the most current techniques in extraction and distillation, Paragon Processing develops a variety of full-spectrum and THC-free products. For more information, visit https://paragonprocessors.com/.